The National Center for Computational Sciences (NCCS), formed in 1992, is home to two of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL’s) high-performance computing projects—the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF) and the National Climate-Computing Research Center (NCRC).
The OLCF (www.olcf.ornl.gov) was established at ORNL in 2004 with the mission of standing up a supercomputer 100 times more powerful than the leading systems of the day. The center delivered on that promise with Jaguar, a Cray XT system, which became the world’s most powerful supercomputer in June 2010.
Now, the OLCF has unveiled Titan, a Cray XK7 system with a speed of 27 petaflops, ranked the world’s fastest in November 2012. Titan is unique among its peers due to its hybrid architecture—a combination of GPUs, traditionally used in video games, and the more conventional central processing units (CPUs) that have served as number crunchers in computers for decades. The complimentary combination of CPUs and GPUs will allow Titan to perform more computing operations using less power than previous generations of high-performance computers.
The NCRC (http://www.ncrc.gov/) was formed in 2010 as a partnership between ORNL and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA). The center houses Gaea, a Cray XE6 supercomputer with a speed in excess of 1 petaflop, dedicated to climate science conducted by NOAA researchers.
ORNL’s supercomputing program has grown from humble beginnings to deliver the most powerful systems ever seen. On the way, it is helping researchers deliver practical breakthroughs and new scientific knowledge in climate, materials, nuclear science, and a wide range of other disciplines.